Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre is run by Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust, which is a charity registered in England and Wales, number 1120476.
The Trust was formed in 2006 with the primary aim of recovering and preserving the remains of the Sunderland flying boat T9044. The Trust has developed since then to cover the wider heritage of Pembroke Dock and the surrounding area.
The Trust relies on income from Heritage Centre admissions, as well as sales in the Gift Shop and Coffee Shop, as well as charitable donations from members of the public and corporate sponsorship. At present, the Trust doesn’t receive any core funding, except for a small but essential contribution from Pembroke Dock Town Council towards part of our rent.
Preserving and Interpreting our Heritage
In 2017 the Trust changed its charitable object to reflect its changing role with regard to the town’s heritage and its work.
The Charity’s objects (‘the Objects’) is to advance education for the benefit of the public through the establishment and maintenance of a museum pertaining to the history, heritage and culture of Pembroke Dock and the surrounding area.
Memorandum of Association, Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust
At the heart of the Trust’s work is the preservation of the town’s unique and significant history.
Click here to read our brief history of Pembroke Dock.
To this end, the Trust holds a collection of historic artefacts including original art, aircraft parts, naval and maritime artefacts, military memorabilia and ephemera, uniform, medals, photographs, industrial items, models, social history items, and much more.
Many of these items are on display in the permanent exhibits in the Heritage Centre, but equally many objects are kept in storage. Sometimes, due to the conservation needs of individual objects, it is not always possible to keep items on display permanently.
The Heritage Centre is currently working towards Accredited Museum status, and intends to complete this process before the end of 2022.
The Heritage Centre is housed in the historic Royal Dockyard Chapel
A Public Resource
Most of our day to day work is focussed on enabling the Heritage Centre to open, and allow members of the public to access our displays, exhibits and other services.
The Heritage Centre is open six days a week, for eleven months of the year, usually with a brief closure over the Christmas and New Year period. It receives over 8,000 visitors each year, and this figure has increased every year since 2016. These visitors include the follow sorts of groups:
- Local people from Pembroke Dock or elsewhere in Pembrokeshire
- People from outside the area who are visiting on a day-trip or as part of a longer stay in the area
- School groups who are visiting to enrich their curriculum
- Uniformed Youth groups
- Community groups (e.g. WI, U3A, local history societies) who visit as part of a programme of activities within the group
- Organised coach tours visiting the area who visit as part of their programme of daily excursions.
- Day care or residential care groups
- People attending special public events, such as a Summer Fun Day
- People attending activities aimed at specific groups of people
The Trust sees its work with Pembroke Dock’s heritage as serving a number of important community functions beyond the immediate preservation and commemoration of the town’s history.
The towns of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock are ranked as being among the most socially and economically deprived in Pembrokeshire, with wards featuring in the top 10% in all of Wales (according to Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2014). We are working to make a real impact in these communities on a variety of fronts – many of which are interwoven.
Provision of cultural leisure facilities in Pembroke Dock
The Heritage Centre provides activities for families during school holidays and is a venue for community groups. Volunteers regularly lead daytime Heritage Walks around the historic Royal Dockyard as well as programmes of evening talks aimed at local people.
The Heritage Centre also acts as a venue and organiser of events, working independently and with local partners such as Pembroke Dock Town Council, the Air Training Corps and other community groups and cultural organisations.
Providing a ‘Sense of Place’
The Heritage Centre is the only venue telling the comprehensive story of Pembroke Dock and its community. While much of the heritage is also evidenced in the buildings of the town, the Heritage Centre has a role in communicating the Town’s historic international importance to the local community and to visitors. This is seen as being an important function in generating a sense of pride in the town by the community.
A venue for volunteering
The Trust works with approximately 100 volunteers, with about 40-50 individuals regularly attending the Heritage Centre performing core functions within the organisation.
Volunteering roles include customer facing roles in retail, catering, customer service, tour-guides and ‘heritage interpreters’, as well as roles supporting care of collections in documenting and heritage conservation.
Our volunteers include a diverse range of individuals, at different stages within their working lives. All our volunteers choose to work with us because they share our vision, but most will have other motivations for choosing to spend their time and energy on our cause.
We also actively work with local agencies who are seeking volunteering opportunities for the people they work with.
A Trust volunteer gives a talk to a group of visitors
Work in and with the community
We are actively involved in a number of partnerships with community projects, local charities and other agencies working to support the local community.
This includes one-off activities, where we may give a presentation or run a single activity for a group. But it also includes projects which may include a number of activities with the target audience, as well as providing project support.
Health and wellbeing
The Trust’s work with volunteers and with a range of other organisations mean that we continually contribute toward the Health and Wellbeing agenda in the local area, providing opportunities for a range of individuals.
In addition to the wellbeing benefits afforded by volunteering opportunities, and through providing a sense of pride in local culture and the historic achievements of the town, the Heritage Centre is also a venue for community groups and service users of a variety of care projects who choose to visit to enrich their activities programme.
The Heritage Centre also provides regular sessions aimed local individuals suffering from or at risk of memory illnesses, and their carers. These fortnightly reminiscence sessions use items from the collections, the displays and a range of additional media including pictures, music and video clips to stimulate memories and generate conversations.
Education – Learning Outside the Classroom
The Heritage Centre can play a key role in education, providing a venue for educational visits, and supplying materials and resources to support both formal and informal learning.
For formal education groups such as schools, the Heritage Centre provides a major opportunity for cultural learning. In addition to the collections and displays, the Heritage Centre can provide access to the grounds, and be the key to unlocking a range of educational opportunities within the built environment of the former Royal Dockyard.
We have the potential to engage a wide age range, from Foundation to KS4 and beyond, in a number of curriculum subjects, not limited to History, but including Science, Technology, Maths, Art and Design, Geography, Computers, and others.
Heritage Centre staff are in a good position to provide high-quality heritage learning experiences and resources to any school wishing to work with us.
Children enjoying facilities in the Heritage Centre.
A destination for informal learning and lifelong learning
In addition to providing facilities for school visits, the Heritage Centre ensures that its displays, exhibits and activities are produced with learning objectives in mind. Activities such as those designed for families during school holidays, heritage walks or evening talks all contribute toward ongoing learning by all our visitors and participants.
Learning objectives can fall within one of five categories, as defined by the Inspiring Learning for All framework of Generic Learning Outcomes, designed to help cultural venues measure the impact of their activities.
The Trust sees learning as a continual process, which changes through time with individuals. The Trust is committed to providing opportunities to people to continue learning, study and research, and to assist other organisations and community groups in facilitating this.
Canadian visitors to the Heritage Centre, following a family connection.
The Heritage Centre plays a key role in bringing day-trippers and visitors to the area into Pembroke Dock. Tourism also has incremental social and economic benefits to Pembroke Dock and the surrounding area, not only in the fact that many of our visitors will also use shops, restaurants, pubs and other businesses and services in the town as part of their visit here, but also in generating a sense of civic pride in the local community.
The heritage of Pembroke Dock is regionally, nationally and internationally significant
Because of the Heritage Centre’s unique collections, each year we receive a number of visits from individuals who visit the area with the specific intention of visiting the Heritage Centre. This regularly includes visitors from as far afield as Australia and Canada, amongst others, who have family military connections with Pembroke Dock.
Cultural Heritage Tourism is a vital for Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire receives over 4 million visitors each year. Cultural heritage plays an important role both as an attraction in its own right, as well as being a supplementary activity to other important leisure attractions in Pembrokeshire. We feel that we can not only offer a ‘wet weather’ alternative to the county’s beautiful countryside and beaches, but that many visitors to the area are grateful for a diversity in the attractions they visit whilst staying here.